As most people are now aware, LinkedIn is the main social media platform for you to build trusted, professional relationships. But with LinkedIn limiting the amount of connection requests you can send, hitting the connect button without adding a personal message could be a big mistake.
I mean, you wouldn’t meet someone new and go in for a hug before you said hello, right?
Just hitting ‘connect’ with no intro message or conversation starter is a missed opportunity to build a connected and potentially lucrative business relationship.And the same is true in reverse – blindly accepting connection requests simply because they ask, without taking the minute to send the invitee a personalised message of thanks as a follow up, is a missed opportunity to build connections and start that business relationship on the right foot.
Growing your network requires time and strategy
A good question to ask yourself before you start a connection request is:
“How are you going to define who you invite into your professional network?”
The first step is mapping out a process for sending requests for new connections and sticking to your own connection criteria.
It’s best to completely customise each connection request based on what prompted you to want to connect with that person.
Tell them if you were inspired by the content they created, touched by one of their posts, or have a colleague who may benefit from their wisdom.
What I’m saying is: make the connection meaningful.
If you simply say something like ‘we have connections in common’ or ‘you see synergy’ with them…is not only lazy, it’s 15 years behind the times (not to mention it makes most people up-chuck a little in their mouth!)
Making people feel repelled on the first conversation is never a good start.
Here are some ideas that might be a great conversation starter for your connection requests.
- Look through their content and mention something they posted that resonated with you
- Mention a post in a group you both share or one from their company page
- Refer to a piece of content you both engaged with
- Refer to the (virtual) event you both attended
- Refer to a discussion you had recently when you met
- Mention a mutual friend or business partner (don’t assume if a person comes up as a mutual LinkedIn connection it means they know them)
- Mention a podcast episode or book that you think they’d like (not yours)
- Offer a referral to a connection of yours
If you really, really don’t know where to start, create some brief templates that you can pop in the ‘Add Note’ section of your connection requests. This will save you time and let you get started, but be sure to add a personal touch to every message.
It is very easy to click on the three dots to the right of the ‘Connect’ button and select ‘Personalise Invite’, as demonstrated in the image below. A Personalised Invite gives you the exact same 300 characters that you get on the desktop.
Good luck in getting more personal!